Singapore salvage some pride after narrow SEA Games win over Brunei

A fortuitous own goal ensured Singapore edged Brunei 1-0 to end their 2017 SEA Games on a slight high. 

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A superb showing between the sticks by Brunei goalkeeper Ishyra Asmin Jabidi continually denied the Singaporeans, but he was unable to stop his own defender Khalid Wassadisalleh Mahmud from putting in at the wrong end 15 minutes from time.

Although this game was effectively a dead rubber with both teams having no chance of progressing into the semis, Singapore coach Richard Tardy named an unchanged line-up from the one that beat Laos 2-0 last Friday.

After a drab first half-hour, the game burst into life in the 34th minute, with Adam Swandi firing into the side netting after getting to the end of Hanafi Akbar’s left-wing cross.

A minute later, Hanafi’s speculative 20-yard drive came off the underside of the crossbar before Ikhsan Fandi headed wide from the rebound.

Hanafi then lashed wide from a tight angle, before Illyas Lee’s close-range header was smothered by Ishyra.

The first half somehow ended goalless, with Ikhsan cutting inside his man before seeing his snapshot parried by Ishyra.

The Brunei custodian continued to frustrate Singapore after the break, denying Taufik Suparno, Ikhsan and Irfan Fandi within the space of eight minutes.

Brunei then introduced captain Faiq Bolkiah in the 63rd minute and his free-kick almost led to the opening goal seven minutes, with Khalid just failing to connect in front of goal.

It was Singapore’s substitute Rusyaidi Salime who made the greater impact though as he set up the match-deciding goal on 75 minutes – eight minutes after coming on.

His teasing right-wing cross led to Khalid putting through his own goal while trying to clear with his left knee.

Singapore were content to stroke the ball patiently for the final 15 minutes and perhaps should have ended the match with more goals.

Hanafi headed wide from Lee’s left-wing cross on 86 minutes. Then deep into injury time, Ikhsan’s shot was denied by Martin Haddy Khallidden on the goal-line before Taufik contrived to fire over the rebound.

The final whistle soon sounded to signal a second straight win for Singapore as they leave Kuala Lumpur with something to cheer about. 

Photos: Weixiang Lim/FFT